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Full text of "Welsh poems and ballads"

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WELSH POEMS AND BALLADS 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/welshpoennsballadOOborr 



WELSH POEMS 
AND BALLADS 



BY 

GEORGE BORROW 




^pi«^ 



WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY 

ERNEST RHYS 



NEW YORK 
G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS 

MCMXV 









TO 

THOMAS J. WISE, 

Bibliophile, Bibliographer and 

Good Borrovian 

(at whose instance 

this Norfolk Budget 

of Welsh Verse 

was brought 

together). 



'^^S^OLLEGE LIBRARY, 
CHESTNUT mLU H^^ 



mzäm7 

3S9722 



CONTENTS 

Page 
Introduction - - - - - 9 

Glendower's Mansion. By lolo Goch. Borrow 

MSS. 27 

Ode to the Comet. By lolo Goch. Borrow MSS. 33 
Ode to Glendower. By lolo Goch. Borrow MSS 39 
"Here's the Life I've sighed for long.'* By 

lolo Goch. "Wild Wales" - - 45 

The Prophecy of Taliesin. ' * Targum " - 49 

The History of Taliesin. "Targum " - 53 

The Mist. By Dafydd ab Gwilym. "Wild 

Wales" 59 

The Cuckoo 's Song in Meiron. By Lewis Morris 

o Fon. Borrow MSS. - - - 63 

The Snow on Eira. ' ' Wild Wales " - - 69 

The Invitation. By Goronwy Owen. "Tar- 
gum " - - - - - 73 
The Pedigree of the Muse. Goronwy Owen. 

Borrow MSS. - - - - 79 

The Harp. Goronwy Owen. Borrow MSS - 87 
Epigram on a Miser. "Targum " - - 91 

Griffith ap Nicholas. By Gwilym ab leuan Hen. 

"Wild Wales" - - - - 95 

Riches and Poverty. By Twm o'r Nant. 

"Wild Wales" - - - - 99 

The Perishing World. By Elis Wynn. "The 

Sleeping Bard " - - - - 109 

Death the Great. By Elis Wynn. "The 

Sleeping Bard " - - - - 115 

The Heavy Heart. By Elis Wynn. " The 

Sleeping Bard " - - - - 121 

5 



CONTENTS 



Page 
Ryce of Twyn. By Dafydd Nanmor. - 129 

Llywelyn. By Dafydd Benfras. "Quarterly 

Review " - - - - 133 

Plynlimmon, By Lewis Glyn Cothi. - 137 



QUATRAINS AND STRAY STANZAS FROM 
''WILD WALES." 



III. 

IV. 

V. 

VI. 

VII. 

VIII. 

IX. 

X. 

XI. 

XII. 

XIII. 

XIV. 

XV. 

XVI. 

XVII. 

XVIII. 
XIX. 



Chester Ale. By Sion Tudor 
Englyn : Dinas Bran. By Roger 

Cyffyn. * * Gone, gone are thy 

Gates" 
Madoc's Epitaph _ - - 

Epitaph on Elizabeth Williams 
The Last Journey. By Huw Moms 
The Four and Twenty Measures. 

by Edward Price 
Mona : By Robert Lleiaf - 
Mona : Englyn. From ** Y Greal ' '- 
Eryri _ _ - - 

Eryri. From Goronwy Owen 
Ellen. From Goronwy Owen 
Mon. By Robin Ddu 
Mon. From Huw Goch 
Lewis Morris of Mon. By Goronwy 

Owen - _ - - 

The Grave of Beli - - - 

The Garden. By Gwilym Du 
The Satirist. From Gruffydd Hirae- 

thog - - - 

On Gruffydd Hiraethog. By Wm 

Llejrn _ - - ■ 

Llangollen Ale. (George Borrow) - 
6 



141 



141 
142 
142 
142 

143 
143 
143 
143 
144 
144 
144 
144 

145 
145 
145 



- 146 

146 
146 



CONTENTS 






Page 


XX. 


Tom Evans. By Twm Tai - 


M7 


XXI. 


The Waterfall 


147 


XXII. 


Dafydd Gam. Attributed to Owain 






Glendower - _ . 


147 


XXIII. 


Llawdden. By Lewis Meredith 


148 


XXIV. 


Twm o'r Nant - - . 


148 


XXV. 


Severn and Wye - - - 


148 


XXVI. 


Glamorgan. By D. ab Gwilym 


148 


XXVII. 


Dafydd ab Gwilym. From lolo Goch 


149 


XXVIII. 


The Yew Tree. After Gruffydd Gryg 


149 


XXIX. 


Hu Gadarn. By lolo Goch 


150 


XXX. 


Earth in Earth. Epitaph - 


150 


XXXI. 


God's Better than All 


151 


XXXII. 


The Sun in Glamorgan. By 






Dafydd ab Gv/ilym 


153 



ADDITIONAL POEMS FROM THE 
" QUARTERLY REVIEW." 

I. The Age of Owen Glendower 
II. The Spider - - - - 

III. The Seven Drunkards - - - 

Sir Rhys ap Thomas. Borrow MSS. - 

Hiraeth. Borrow MSS. - . _ 

Pwll Cheres : The Vortex of Menai. Borrow MSS. 

The Mountain Snow - - - _ 

Carolan 's Lament. * * Targum " 

Epigrams by Carolan. * * Targum " - 

The Delights of Finn Mac Coul. " Targum " - 

Icolmcill. ''Targum" - _ _ 

The Dying Bard. ' * Targum " 

The Song of Deirdra. Borrow MSS. - 

The Wild Wine. "Wild Wales" 



157 
Î58 
159 

163 
167 
171 

175 
179 

183 
187 
191 

195 
201 
205 



INTRODUCTION. 

IN a collection of unedited odds and 
ends from Sorrow's papers bearing 
upon Wales, and dating from various 
periods of his career, there is one in- 
significant-looking sheet on whose back 
some lines are pencilled, beginning ** The 
mountain snow.*' They are reproduced 
in the text, but deserve notice here 
because of the evidence they bring of 
Borrow 's long-continued Welsh obsession 
and his long practice as a Welsh translator. 
Apparently they date from the time when 
he was writing **Lavengro, " since the 
other side of the leaf contains a draft in 
ink of the preface to that book. Other 
sheets of blue foolscap in the same bundle — 
folded small for the pocket — are devoted 
to unnumbered chapters of ** Wild Wales." 
Yet another scrap, from a much earlier 
period, is so closely packed in a micro- 
scopic hand that it reminds one at a first 
glance of the painfully minute script of the 
Bronte sisters in their earliest attempts. 

9 B 



INTRODUCTION 



Its matter is only a footnote on the Celts, 
Gaels and Cymry, and its substance often 
reappears in later pages ; but other items 
both in the early script of a fine minus- 
cule, and in the later bold, untidy scrawl, 
serve to carry on the Welsh account, with 
references to Pwll Cheres and Goronwy 
Owen ; and the upshot of them all goes to 
show that Borrow, whether he was at 
Norwich or in London, was not only a stout 
Celtophile, but much inclined, early and 
late, to be a Welsh idolater. And since the 
days when the monks of the Priory at 
Carmarthen wrote the * *■ Black Book ' ' in a 
noble script, I suppose no copyist ever took 
more pains than Borrow did in his early 
years in transcribing the lines of the Welsh 
poets, as the facsimile page given in this 
volume can tell. 

Of the bards and rhymers that he at- 
tempted in English, he gave most care to 
translating lolo Goch, four of whose odes 
open the present collection. He was 
tempted to dilate on lolo, or *^ Edward the 
Red,'' because of that poet's association 
with Owen Glendower, a hero in whose 
exploits he greatly delighted. The tribute 
to Owen in '*Wild Wales" is, or should 
be, familiar enough to Borrovians. In 

lO 



INTRODUCTION 



Chapter XXIII. there is an account of 
the landmark which Borrow calls ** Mont 
Glyndwr *' (though I have never heard it 
so called in my Welsh wanderings) ; while 
in Chapter LXVL a description of the other 
mount at Sycharth accompanies a trans- 
lation of the Ode by lolo, which in a slightly 
different earlier text is printed on page eight. 
It was after repeating these lines, Borrow 
tells us, that he exclaimed, **How much 
more happy, innocent and holy '* he was 
in the days of his boyhood, when he trans- 
lated the ode, than ** at the present time/' 
And then, covering his face with his hands, 
he wept *Mike a child/* If one re-reads 
the ode in the light of this confession, one 
observes that there is a strong vein of 
personal feeling about its lines, and a cer- 
tain pilgrim strain in its opening, which 
would lend themselves readily to Borrow 's 
mood and the idea, never far away from 
his thoughts, that in his wanderings he too 
was a bard doing * * Clera. ' * It need hardly 
be said that he was wrong in estimating 
lolo *s age as * * upwards of a hundred years, ' * 
when the ode was written. In other details 
of the poem he is more picturesque 
than literal ; but the English copy of the 
Welsh sketch is in essentials near enough 

II 



INTRODUCTION 



for all ordinary purposes ; and the achieve- 
ment in a boy of eighteen, living at Norwich, 
far from Wales, is an extraordinary one. 
The sort of error that he fell into was a 
very natural one to occur ; for instance, 
misled by his mere dictionary knowledge, 
he omits the reference to St. Patrick's 
clock-tower and the cloisters of West- 
minster. The words ** Kloystr Wesmestr, ' ' 
only lead in one text to the line, ^*A 
cloister of festivities,*' and in the other 
to the yet freer rendering — *^ muster the 
merry pleasures all.** Again, the original 
has no mention of ** Usquebaugh,** though 
the Shrewsbury ale is in order. In medieval 
Wales, I may add, the bragget mentioned 
in these lines was made by mixing ale with 
mead, and spicing the mixture — a decidedly 
heady liquor, one gathers, when it was 
kept awhile. 

lolo Goch, like the greater — indeed one 
may say the greatest Welsh poet, Dafydd 
ab Gwilym, used a form of verse in his 
odes which it is not easy to imitate or 
follow in English, keeping all its subtle 
graces and assonances. It is termed the 
* * Cywydd, * * which may be taken to signify 
a verse in which the words are well knit 
and finely co-ordinated ; or, as Sir John 

12 



INTRODUCTION 



Rhys puts it, ** elegantly, artistically put 
together/* The verse, it should be said, 
is written in couplets, and the lines are 
required also to follow a definite sym- 
phonic pattern. Try for example Dafydd's 
lines, which Borrow has translated (see 
page 59), upon the mist. In Welsh they 
run : 

** Och ! it ^niwlen felen-fawr 

Na throet ti, na therit awr : 

Casul yr siwyr ddu-lwyd, 

CdiVthen annib^n iswn wyd, 

Mwg ellylldan o annwn, 

Ahid teg ar y byd hwn. 

Fal tarth ufiern-barth ffwrn-bell ; 

Mwg y byd yn magu o bell, ' * 

The second and last of these verses well 
show the use of what is called the ** cyng- 
hanedd * * or consonancy of echoing syllables 
required in the cywydd metre. Borrow, in 
getting his own rhyme, rather loses the 
force of the original. For instance, he 
omits the * * awyr ddu-lwyd * ' in verse 
three — the air black-grey — and he spoils 
in expanding the idea of the verse — *' car- 
then anniben,'' etc. Here the Welsh poet 
suggests that the mist is an endless cloth, 

13 



INTRODUCTION 



woven perpetually in space. The packed 
lines of the cywydd, and the concreteness 
of the imagery, set the translator, however, 
a hard task. Borrow, in the ** Wild 
Wales ** version, omits the opening of the 
poem, whose last lines lead up to the apos- 
trophe; but the MS. has enabled Mr. Wise 
to complete it in his Bibliography. More 
literally, the Welsh might be rendered 
thus : — 

' * Before I had gone a step of the way, 
I no longer saw a place in the land : 
Neither birchclad cliff, nor coast ; 
Neither hill's-breast, mountain-side, nor 
sea.»' 

Then it is he turns in his humorous rage : 

** Och ! confound thee, great yellow thing. 
That neither turns lighter, nor clears a bit ; 
Black-grey chasuble of the air ; 
An endless woven clout, thou art ! ' * 

Borrow 's difficulty in attacking the Welsh 
of a poet so rapid and easy and light-footed, 
was that of a Zeppelin in pursuit of a 
Farman. He was over-weighted from the 
start. His early awkwardness in verse, 
his rhetoric learnt from the artificial style 
of the generation before him, were in his 

14 



INTRODUCTION 



way. lolo Goch was much nearer to him, 
with the admiring inventory of a chieftain *s 
house, than was the art of the poet of the 
leaves, the birch-grove and the love-tryst. 

But as time went on Borrow returned 
on his old steps, and he took up some of 
his former handiwork, and smoothed away 
some of its crudities. Mr. Wise, indeed, 
maintains that the Borrow of 1826 was a 
much less finished verseman than the 
Borrow of 1854-60 ; and his Bibliography 
illustrates some of the changes made 
for the better in Borrow 's verse. Thus, in 
one Norse ballad, he changes ** gore *' into 
** blood,'* and we remark in many lines 
an attempt to get at a more natural style 
in verse. The account of ^* The Sleeping 
Bard * * in the Bibliography, shows that the 
improvement in Borrow 's craftsmanship 
went on after i860, in which year the book 
was printed at Yarmouth (a very limited 
edition, 250 copies at 5s. a copy). For 
instance, in the poem, * * Death the Great, ' ' 
the seventh stanza ran originally : 

** The song and dance afford, I ween, 
Relief from spleen, and sorrow's grave ; 
How very strange there is no dance 
Nor tune of France, from Death can save. ' ' 
15 



INTRODUCTION 



In 1 87 1 the four lines were recast as 
follows : — 

* * The song and dance can drive, they say, 
The spleen away, and humour's grave ; 
Why hast thou not devised, O France 
Some tune and dance from Death to save ? ' * 
Here again, we see, he purges his poetic 
diction, and turns * * I ween ' ' into * * they 
say.'' It is remarkable that in translating 
these lines by Elis Wynn he is not content 
to get the end-rhymes only, but accepts to 
the full the difficulty of following the 
Welsh in the interned rhymes throughout — 
as shown by the words italicised. 

In his interesting account of ** George 
Borrow and his Circle, ' ' Mr. Shorter quotes 
a letter from Professor Cowell to a Norwich 
correspondent, Mr. James Hooper, which 
betrays some disappointment over Sorrow's 
Welsh interest at the close of his life. 
Cowell had been inspired by ^ * Wild Wales ' ' 
to learn Welsh, and even nursed a wish to 
do so under Borrow himself. He found his 
way to Oulton Hall one autumn day, and 
its master — now an old man close on 
eighty — opened the door in person. The 
ardent visitor talked to him of Ab Gwilym, 
but his interest was languid ; and even the 
news that the Honourable Cymmrodorion 

16 



INTRODUCTION 



were about to publish the poems of lolo 
Goch did not rouse him. Cowell himself, 
it may be added, afterwards wrote an 
excellent appreciation of Ab Gwilym in the 
Transactions of the same society. In his 
letter, Cowell speaks of Sorrow's careless- 
ness as a translator, and declares the very 
title— '* Visions of the Sleeping Bard" — 
to be wrong; it should be, not the ** Sleep- 
ing Bard," but the '' Bard Sleep." How- 
ever, in this case. Borrow 's instinct v/as truer 
than his critic's. For *' Cwsg ' ' is used as a 
noun-adjective by Elis Wynn ; and the latest 
translator of the book — Mr. Gwyneddon 
Davies* — adopts the same title precisely. 

Borrow 's record as a Welsh translator 
would not be complete without a page or so 
of his version of the prose text of the same 
work. Elis Wynn, I may explain, was, after 
the tale-writers of the Mabinogion, the best 
author of Welsh narrative prose that the 
language possesses. He was at once idio- 
matic and exact in style. He knew how 
to get the golden epithet; his diction was 
bold and biblical, his vocabulary could be at 
times startling and Rabelaisean. Borrow 's 

* " The Visions of the Sleeping Bard : " Being Ellis 
Wynne's " Gweledigaethau y Bardd Cwsg," Translated by 
Robert Gwyneddon Davies. Carnarvon (Welsh Publishing 
Co., Ltd.), 1909. 

17 



INTRODUCTION 



efficiency in rendering him may be tested by 
a couple of passages. The first takes us to 
the City of Destruction and its streets: — 
***What are those streets called/ said I. 

* Each is called, ' he replied, * by the name 
of the princess who governs it : the first 
is the street of Pride, the middle one the 
street of Pleasure, and the nearest, the 
street of Lucre/ * Pray, tell me,* said I, 

* who are dwelling in these streets ? What 
is the language which they speak ? What 
are the tenets which they hold ? To what 
nation do they belong ? ' * Many, * said 
he, * of every language, faith and nation 
under the sun are living in each of those 
vast streets below ; and there are many in 
each of the three streets alternately, and 
everyone as near as possible to the gate ; 
and they frequently remove, unable to tarry 
long in the one, from the great love they 
bear to the princess of some other street ; 
and the old fox looks slyly on, permitting 
everyone to love his choice, or all three if 
he pleases, for then he is most sure of him. ' 

** * Come nearer to them,' said the angel, 
and hurried with me downwards, shrouded 
in his impenetrable veil, through much 
noxious vapour which was rising from the 
city ; presently, we descended in the street 

i8 



INTRODUCTION 



of Pride, upon a spacious mansion open at 
the top, whose windows had been dashed 
out by dogs and crows, and whose owners 
had departed to England or France, to seek 
there for what they could have obtained 
much easier at home ; thus, instead of the 
good, old, charitable, domestic family of 
yore, there were none at present but owls, 
crows, or chequered magpies, whose hoot- 
ing, cawing, and chattering were excellent 
comments on the practices of the present 
owners. There were in that street myriads 
of such abandoned palaces, which might 
have been, had it not been for Pride, the 
resorts of the best, as of yore, places of 
refuge for the weak, schools of peace and 
of every kind of goodness ; and blessings 
to thousands of small houses around. ' ' 

This comes from the first of the Three 
Dreams, that of the World ; and a further 
quotation from the same dream-book 
touches what is Sorrow's high-water mark 
as a translator : — 

** Thereupon we turned our faces from 
the great city of Perdition, and went up to 
the other little city. In going along, I could 
see at the upper end of the streets many 
turning half-way from the temptations of 
the gates of Perdition and seeking for the 

19 



INTRODUCTION 



gate of Life ; but whether it was that they 
failed to find it, or grew tired upon the way, 
I could not see that any went through, 
except one sorrowful faced man, who ran 
forward resolutely, while thousands on each 
side of him were calling him fool, some 
scoffing him, others threatening him, and 
his friends laying hold upon him, and 
entreating him not to take a step by which 
he would lose the whole world at once. 

* I only lose, ' said he, * a very small portion 
of it, and if I should lose the whole, pray 
what loss is it ? For what is there in the 
world so desirable, unless a man should 
desire deceit, and violence, and misery, and 
wretchedness, giddiness and distraction? 
Contentment and tranquillity,' said he, 

* constitute the happiness of man ; but in 
your city there are no such things to be 
found. Because who is there here content 
with his station ? Higher, higher ! is what 
everyone endeavours to be in the street of 
Pride. Give, give us a little more, says 
everyone in the street of Lucre. Sweet, 
sweet, pray give me some more of it, is the 
cry of everyone in the street of Pleasure. 

** * And as for tranquillity, where is it ? 
and who obtains it .^ If you be a great 
man, flattery and envy are killing you. 

20 



INTRODUCTION 



If you be poor, everyone is trampling upon 
and despising you. After having become 
an inventor, if you exalt your head and 
seek for praise, you will be called a boaster 
and a coxcomb. If you lead a godly life 
and resort to the Church and the altar, you 
will be called a hypocrite. If you do not, 
then you are an infidel or a heretic. If 
you be merry, you will be called a buffoon. 
If you are silent, you will be called a morose 
wretch. If you follow honesty, you are 
nothing but a simple fool. If you go neat, 
you are proud ; if not, a swine. If you are 
smooth speaking, then you are false, or a 
trifler without meaning. If you are rough, 
you are an arrogant, disagreeable devil. 
Behold the world that you magnify! ' said 
he ; * pray take my share of it. ' " 

In the foregoing extract Borrow makes 
a few obvious errors. For instance, he 
turns the Welsh word * * dyf eiswr ' ' into 
** inventor," whereas the sense here implies 
a schemer, or intriguer (the last is the 
rendering adopted by Mr. Gwyneddon 
Davies), and the translation suffers a cor- 
responding lapse in the same clause. But 
on the whole Borrow 's rendering is good of 
its kind, and it gains by its freedom at times, 
as in the page where he turns ** dwylla 

21 



INTRODUCTION 



o'th arian a'th hoedl hefyd, ** into 

* * chouses you of your money and your life. * * 

The fact is, Borrow was vital in prose, 
while the shackles of verse often weighed 
on him. It was only in mid- career that he 
learnt to move at all easily in them — how 
much more easily we should not have 
known had not Mr. Wise, with his biblio- 
graphical intrepidity, set about printing for 
his own library some of the unpublished 
matter. In the light of those green quartos. 
Borrow is seen to be a translator of more 
force than grace, who generally contrived 
to give a flavour of his own to whatever 
he touched. Because of the subtleties of 
the prosody, he was rather less effective 
in dealing with Welsh and Celtic than with 
Norse and Gothic verse. But he managed 
to create an English that was undoubtedly 
rare in his day, and is now unique because 
the Borrovian accent is in it, and the 
masculine voice of Borrow — like the cry 
of Vidrik in the ballad — is unmistakable. 
He knew the art of giving a name to things ; 
and, again like Vidrik, who called his sword 

* * mimmering, ' * and his shield * * skrep- 
ping,*' this Cornish East Anglian, who 
dabbled in gipsy lore and learnt Welsh, 
made his weapons part of himself, whether 

22 



INTRODUCTION 



they consisted of his pen, his portentous um- 
brella, or his father's silver-handled blade : — 

* * Thou 'st decked old chiefs of Cornwall 's land 

To face the fiend with thee they dared ; 
Thou provMst a Tirfing in their hand, 
Which victory gave whene'er 'twas 
bared. 

* Though Cornwall 's moors 'twas ne 'er my lot 

To view, in Eastern Anglia born. 
Yet I her sons' rude strength have got. 
And feel of death their fearless scorn. ' * 

Little need be added about the various 
sources of the following text. The first 
three poems are from a quarto MS. owned 
by Mr. Gurney of Norwich, who has kindly 
lent it to the publishers. Its title runs : 

poems. 
By lOLO GOCH ; 

With a Metrical English Translation. 
Some former owner has pencilled below, 
** By Mr. Borrer of Norwich " (sic). From 
Mr. Wise's green quartos, already referred 
to, or from MSS. in his library, come the 
two Goronwy Owen poems, * * The Pedi- 
gree of the Muse," and '* The Harp." 
Also Lewis Morris the Elder's lines, ** The 
Cuckoo's Song in Meirion," or Merion, 
according to Borrow. The Epigrams by 

23 



INTRODUCTION 



Carolan and * * Song of Deirdra ' * are Irish 
items from the same source; while **Pwll 
Cheres, the Vortex of Menai, '* and **The 
Mountain Snow,** are two Welsh ones, 
which have not, I believe, been printed in 
any other form. The familiar pages of 
* * Wild Wales, * ' and the less-known 
volume, ^ * Targum, * * account for the bulk 
of the remaining poems and fragments ; 
while Sorrow's ** Quarterly Review * ' article 
on Welsh Poetry (January, 1861) provides 
us with four more translations. The ver- 
sions are printed with all their faults on their 
head ; and if he put a whiting into a fresh- 
water fish-pond (in the Ode on Sycharth, 
original text), or mistook a saint for a 
secular detail, the collector of his works will 
be glad to have the plain evidence under his 
hand, and will not wonder a bit the less at 
the boyish achievement of this East-country 
Celt. It remains to be said that, being 
Borrow, he was duly astonished at himself, 
and under the Sycharth poem wrote in 
Welsh a footnote which runs in effect: 
** The English translation is the work of 
George Borrow, an English lad of the City 
of Norwich, who has never been in Wales, 
and has never in all his life heard a word 
of Welsh from man or woman. * ' 

24 



GLENDOWER'S 
MANSION 



BORROWS EARLY POEMS 



GLENDOWER'S MANSION. 

10L0 GOCH was a celebrated Bard of 
North Wales, and flourished about 
the end of the fourteenth and 
commencement of the fifteenth century. 
He was the contemporary of the celebrated 
Owain Glendower, and one of the most 
devoted and not the least effectual of his 
partisans ; for by his songs he kindled 
the spirit of his countrymen against the 
English, and by his praises of Glendower 
increased their pre-existing enthusiasm for 
that chieftain. The present poem was 
composed some years previous to the insur- 
rection of Glendower against Henry the 
Fourth, and describes with the utmost 
possible minuteness his place of residence 
at Sycharth, to which place lolo, after 
receiving frequent invitations from its 
owner, repaired to reside in his old age. 

A PROMISE has been made by me 
Twice of a journey unto thee ; 
His promises let every man 
Perform, as far as e 'er he can. 
Easy is done the thing that's sweet. 
And sweet this journey is and meet ; 
I've vow'd to Owain 's court to go, 

27 



BORROW *S EARLY POEMS 

To keep that vow no harm will do ; 
And thither straight I *11 take the way, 
A happy thought, and there I '11 stay, 
Respect and honor whilst I live 
With him united to receive. 
My Chief of long-lin'd ancestry. 
Can harbour sons of poesy. 
To hear the sweet Muse singing bold 
A fine thing is when one is old ; 
And to the Castle I will hie. 
There *s none to match it 'neath the sky ; 
It is a Baron's stately court, 
Where bards for sumptuous fare resort. 
The Lord and star of powis land, 
He granteth every just demand. 
Its likeness now I will draw out : 
Water surrounds it in a moat ; 
Stately 's the palace with wide door. 
Reach 'd by a bridge the blue lake o'er ; 
It is of buildings coupled fair. 
Coupled is every couple there ; 
A quadrate structure tall it is, 
A cloister of festivities. 
Conjointly are the angles bound ; 
In the whole place no flaw is found. 
Structures in contact meet the eye 
Grottoways, on the hill on high. 
Into each other fastened, they 
The form of a hard knot display. 

28 



BORROW *S EARLY POEMS 

There dwells the Chief, v/e all extoll, 
In fair wood house on a light knoll. 
Upon four wooden columns proud 
Mounteth his mansion to the cloud. 
Each column's thick, and firmly bas*d, 
And upon each a loft is plac'd. 
In these four lofts, which coupled stand, 
Repose at night the minstrel band : 
These four lofts, nests of luxury 
Partitioned, form eight prettily. 
Tiled is the roof, on each house top 
Chimneys, where smoke is bred, tower up. 
Nine halls in form consimilar, 
And wardrobes nine to each there are, 
Wardrobes well stock 'd with linen white 
Equal to shops of London quite. 
A church there is, a cross which has. 
And chapels neatly paned with glass. 
All houses are contained in this, 
An orchard, vineyard *tis of bliss. 
Beside the Castle, 'bove all praise. 
Within a park the red deer graze. 
A coney park the Chief can boast. 
Of ploughs and noble steeds a host ; 
Meads, where for hay the fresh grass grows, 
Cornfields which hedges trim enclose ; 
Mill a perennial stream upon, 
And pigeon tower fram'd of stone ; 
A fish pond deep and dark to see, 

29 



BORROW ^S EARLY POEMS 

To cast nets in when need there be ; 
And in that pond there is no lack 
Of noble whitings and of jack. 
Three boards he keeps, his birds abound, 
Peacocks and cranes are seen around. 
All that his household-wants demand 
Is ordered straight by his command : 
Ale he imports from Shrewsbury far. 
Glorious his beer and bragget are. 
All drinks he keeps, bread white of look. 
And in his kitchen toils his cook. 
His castle is the minstrels' home. 
You'll find them there whene'er you come, 
Of all her sex his wife's the best. 
Her wine and mead make life thrice blest. 
She's scion of a knightly tree. 
She's dignified, she's kind and free ; 
His bairns come to me pair by pair, 
O what a nest of chieftains fair ! 
There difficult it is to catch 
A sight of either bolt or latch ; 
The porter's place there none will fill — 
There handsels shall be given still. 
And ne'er shall thirst and hunger rude 
In Sycharth venture to intrude. 
The noblest Welshman, lion for might, 
The Lake possesses, his by right. 
And 'midst of that fair water plac'd. 
The Castle, by each pleasure grac'd. 

30 



ODE TO THE 
COMET 



BORROWS EARLY POEMS 



ODE TO THE COMET. 

Which appeared in the Month of March, 
A.D. 1402. 

By 
lOLO GOCH. 

THIS piece appears to have been 
written at the period when 
Glendower had nearly attained the 
summit of his greatness ; the insurrection 
which he commenced in September, 1400, 
by sacking and burning the town of Ruthin, 
having hitherto sustained no check v/hatever. 
In the present poem his bard hails the 
appearance of the Comet as a divine prog- 
nostic of the eventual success of the Welsh 
Hero, and of his elevation to the throne of 
Britain. 

^ I ^ OUT the stars' nature and their hue 
1^^ Much has been said, both false and 
JL-^ true ; 
They're wondrous through their coun- 
tenance — 
Signs to us in the blue expanse. 

33 



BORROW »S EARLY POEMS 

The first that came, to merit praise, 
Was that great star of splendid rays, 
From a fair country seen of old 
High in the East, a mark of gold ; 
Conveying to the sons of Earth 
News of the King of glory 's birth. 
In the advantage I had share, 
Though some to doubt the event will dare, 
That Christ was born from Mary maid, 
A merciful and timely aid. 
With his veins' blood to save on high 
The righteous from the enemy. 
The second, a right glorious lamp, 
Of yore went over Uther's camp. 
There as it flam'd distinct in view 
Merddin amongst the warrior crew 
Standing, with tears of anguish, thought 
Of the dire act on Emrys wrought, f 
And he caus'd Uther back to turn. 
The victory o'er the foe to earn ; 
From anger to revenge to spring 
Is with the frank a common thing. 
Arthur the generous, bold and good. 
Was by that comet understood. 



t Emrys, King of Britain, lying sick at Canterbury, a 
Saxon of the name of Eppa disguised himself as a religious 
person, and pretending to be versed in medicine, obtained 
admission to the Monarch and administered to him a 
poisoned draught, of which he died. 

34 



BORROWS EARLY POEMS 

Man to be cherished well and long, 
Foretold through ancient Bardic song : 
With ashen shafted lance's thrust 
He shed his foe 's blood on the dust. 
The third to Gwynedd's hills was born 
By time and tempest-fury worn, 
Similar to the rest it came, 
In origin and look the same. 
Powerfully lustrous, yellow, red 
Both, both as to its beam and head. 
The wicked far about and near 
Enquire of me, who feel no fear. 
For where it comes there luck shall fall. 
What means the hot and starry ball ? 
I know and can expound aright 
The meaning of the thing of light : 
To the son of the prophecy 
Its ray doth steel or fire imply ; 
There has not been for long, long time 
A fitting star to Gwynedd's clime. 
Except the star this year appearing, 
Intelligence unto us bearing ; 
Gem to denote we're reconcil'd 
At length with God the undefil'd. 
How beauteous is that present sheen. 
Of the excessive heat the queen ; 
A fire upmounting 'fore our face. 
Shining on us God's bounteous grace ; 
For where they sank shall rise once more 

35 



BORROWS EARLY POEMS 

The diadem and laws of yore. 

*Tis high 'bove Mona in the skies, 

In the angelic squadron *s eyes ; 

A golden pillar hangs it there, 

A waxen column of the air. 

We a fair gift shall gain ere long. 

Either a pope or Sovereign strong ; 

A King, who wine and mead will give, 

From Gwynedd *s land we shall receive ; 

The Lord shall cease incens'd to be, 

And happy times cause Gwynedd see, 

Fame to obtain by dint of sword, 

Till be fulfiird the olden word. 



36 



ODE TO 
GLENDOWER 



BORROWS EARLY POEMS 

ODE TO GLENDOWER 

After His Disappearance. 

By 
lOLO GOCH. 

FORTUNE having turned against 
Glendower, he fought many 
unsuccessful battles, in which all 
his sons perished, bravely maintaining the 
cause of their father. His adherents being 
either slaughtered or dispirited, the Welsh 
Chieftain retired into concealment — but 
where, no mortal at the present day can 
assert with certainty, but it is believed 
that he died of grief and disappointment 
in the year 1 415, at the house of his daughter, 
the wife of Sir John Scudamore, of Moning- 
ton in Herefordshire. The fall of Glen- 
dower was a bitter mortification to the 
Bards, whom he had so long feasted in 
the watery valleyf from which he derived 
his surname ; many poetical compositions 
are still preserved, written with the view of 
reviving the hopes of his dispirited friends. 
Amongst these the following by lolo 

+ Glyndwr signifies watery valley. 
39 



BORROW ^S EARLY POEMS 

Goch is perhaps the most remarkable. 
He hints that the Chieftain has repaired 
to Rome, from which he will return with a 
warrant under the seal of the Pope, to take 
possession of his right. Then he flings 
out a surmise that he has travelled to the 
Holy Sepulchre, and will re-appear with a 
Danish and Irish fleet to back his cause. 
Notwithstanding the little regard paid to 
truth and probability in this piece, and not- 
withstanding its strange metaphors and 
obscure allusions, it displays marks of 
no ordinary poetic talent, and is a convincing 
proof that the fire and genius of the author 
had not deserted him at fourscore, to which 
advanced age he had attained when he 
wrote it. 

TALL man, whom Harry loves but ill, 
Thou'st had reverses, breath 'st 
thou still ? 
If so, with fire-spear seek the fray. 
Come, and thy target broad display. 
From land of Rome, which glory *s light 
Environs, come in armour dight. 
With writ, which bears the blest impression 
Of Peter 's seal, to take possession. 
Big Bull ! from eastern climates speed, 
Bursting each gate would thee impede. 

40 



BORROW *S EARLY POEMS 

Flash from thy face shall fiery rays, 
On thee shall all with reverence gaze. 
Fair Eagle ! earl of trenchant brand ! 
Betake thee to the Lochlin land, 
Whose sovereign on his buckler square. 
Sign of success, is wont to bear 
Three lions blue, through fire to see 
Like azure, and steel-fetters three. 
We'll trust, far casting black despair, 
Hence in the peacock, hog and bear ! 
For O the three shall soon unite, 
A dread host in the hour of fight. 
Launch forth seven ships, do not delay. 
Launch forth seven hundred, tall and gay ; 
From the far north, at Monads pray'r. 
To verdant Eirin's shore repair. 
To seek O *Neil must be thy task, 
And at his hand assistance ask ; 
Ere feast of John we shall not fail 
To hear a rising of the Gael : 
Through the wild waste to Dublin town 
Shall come a leader of renown. 
Prepare a fleet with stout hearts manned 
From Irishmen's dear native land. 
Come thou who did 'st by treachery fall, 
Where'er thou art my soul is all. 
Yellow and red, before a feast. 
The colours are, the Erse love best. 
Deck with the same, their hearts to win, 

41 D 



BORROWS EARLY POEMS 

The banner old of Llywellin. 
Call Britain 's host (may woe betide 
England for treachery ! ) to thy side ; 
Come to our land, tough steel, and o 'er 
The islands rule, an Emperor ; 
A fire ignite on shore of Mon 
Staunch Eagle ! ere an hour be flown. 
The castles break, retreats of care, 
Conquer of Caer Ludd 's dogs the lair ! 
Mona 's gold horn ! the Normans smite, 
Kill the mole and his men outright : 
A prophecy there stands from old. 
That numerous battles thou shalt hold ; 
Where'er thou'st opportunity 
Fight the tame Lion furiously ; 
Fierce shall thy hands * work prove, I trow, 
Dying and dead shall Merwyg strow ; 
War shall my Chief through summer wage. 
That the wheel turn, my life Til gage ; 
Like to the burst of Derri 's stream 
The onset of his war shall seem. 
With Monads flag through laithon's glen 
Shall march a host of armed men : 
Nine fights he'll wage and then have done. 
Successful in them every one. 
Come heir of Cadwallader blest. 
And thy sire's land from robbers wrest : 
Take thou the portion that's thine own, 
Us from the chains 'neath which we groan. 

42 



HERE'S THE LIFE I'VE 
SIGH'D FOR LONG 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 



KERENS THE LIFE TVE SIGHED 
FOR LONG. 

By 
lOLO GOCH. 

HERE^S the life Tve sighed for long : 
Abash'd is now the Saxon throng, 
And Britons have a British lord 
Whose emblem is the conquering sword ; 
There's none I trow but knows him well 
The hero of the watery dell. 
Owain of bloody spear in field, 
Owain his country's strongest shield ; 
A sovereign bright in grandeur drest, 
Whose frown affrights the bravest breast. 
Let from the world upsoar on high 
A voice of splendid prophecy ! 
All praise to him who forth doth stand 
To 'venge his injured native land ! 
Of him, of him a lay I'll frame 
Shall bear through countless years his name ; 
In him are blended portents three, 
Their glories blended sung shall be : 
There's Owain, meteor of the glen, 
The head of princely generous men ; 
Owain, the lord of trenchant steel. 
Who makes the hostile squadrons reel ; 
Owain besides, of warlike look, 
A conqueror who no stay will brook ; 

45 



BORROW ^S WELSH POEMS 

Hail to the lion leader gay, 

Marshaller of Griffith's war array ; 

The scourger of the flattering race, 

For them a dagger has his face ; 

Each traitor false he loves to smite, 

A lion is he for deeds of might ; 

Soon may he tear, like lion grim. 

All the Lloegrians limb from limb ! 

May God and Rome's blest father high 

Deck him in surest panoply ! 

Hail to the valiant carnager. 

Worthy three diadems to bear ! 

Hail to the valley's belted King ! 

Hail to the widely conquering, 

The liberal, hospitable, kind. 

Trusty and keen as steel refined ! 

Vigorous of form he nations bows. 

Whilst from his breast-plate bounty flows. 

Of Horsa's seed on hill and plain 

Four hundred thousand he has slain. 

The cope-stone of our nation's he. 

In him our weal, our all v/e see ; 

Though calm he looks his plans when 

breeding. 
Yet oaks he'd break his clans when leading. 
Hail to this partisan of war. 
This bursting meteor flaming far ! 
Where'er he wends Saint Peter guard him, 
And may the Lord five lives award him ! 

4Ó 



THE PROPHECY 
OF TALIESIN 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

THE PROPHECY t OF TALIESIN. 

From the Ancient British. 

WITHIN my mind 
I hold books confìn'd. 
Of Europa's land all the mighty 
lore ; 
O God of heaven high ! 
With how many a bitter sigh, 
I my prophecy upon Troy*s line* pour : 

A serpent coiling, 

And with fury boiling. 
From Germany coming with arm'd wings 
spread. 

Shall Britain fair subdue 

From the Lochlin ocean blue. 
To where Severn rolls in her spacious bed. 

And British men 

Shall be captives then 
To strangers from Saxonia's strand ; 

From God they shall not swerve, 

They their language shall preserve. 
But except wild Wales, they shall lose their 
land. 

t Written in the fifth century. 

* The British, like many other nations, whose early 
history is involved in obscurity, claim a Trojan descent- 

49 



THE HISTORY 
OF TALIESIN 



BORROW *S WELSH POEMS 



THE HISTORY OF TALIESIN. 

From The Ancient British, 

TALIESIN was a foundling, discovered 
in his infancy lying in a coracle, 
on a salmon-weir, in the domain 
of Elphin, a prince of North Wales, who 
became his patron. During his life he arro- 
gated to himself a supernatural descent and 
understanding, and for at least a thousand 
years after his death he was regarded by 
the descendants of the ancient Britons in 
the character of a prophet or something 
more. The poems which he produced pro- 
cured for him the title of ^* Bardic King; ** 
they display much that is vigorous and 
original, but are disfigured by mysticism 
and extravagant metaphor; one of the 
most spirited of them is the following, 
which the author calls his **Hanes*' or 
history. 



53 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

THE head Bard's place I hold 
To Elphin, chieftain bold ; 
The country of my birth 
Was the Cherubs* land of mirth ; 
I from the prophet John 
The name of Merddin won ; 
And now the Monarchs all 
Me Taliesin call. 

I with my Lord and God 
On the highest places trod, 
When Lucifer down fell 
With his army into hell. 
I know each little star 
Which twinkles near and far ; 
And I know the Milky Way 
Where I tarried many a day. 

My inspiration's! flame 
From Cridwen's cauldron came ; 
Nine months was I in gloom 
In Sorceress Cridwen 's womb ; 
Though late a child — I 'm now 
The Bard of splendid browi ; 
When roar'd the deluge dark, 
I with Noah trod the Ark. 

f Awen, or poetic genius, which he is said to have imbibed 
in his childhood, whilst employed in watching the cauldron 
of the Sorceress Cridwen. 

Î I was but a child, but am now Taliesin, — Taliesin 
signifies : brow of brightness. 

54 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

By the sleeping man I stood 
When the rib grew flesh and blood. 
To Moses strength I gave 
Through Jordan's holy wave ; 
The thrilling tongue was I 
To Enoch and Elie ; 
I hung the cross upon, 
Where died the . . . {only son) 

A chair of little rest 
'Bove the Zodiac I prest, 
Which doth ever, in a sphere. 
Through three elements career ; 
Fve sojourned in Gwynfryn, 
In the halls of Cynfelyn ; 
To the King the harp I played. 
Who Lochlyn's sceptre sway'd. 

With the Israelites of yore 

I endured a hunger sore ; 

In Africa I stray 'd 

Ere was Rome's foundation laid ; 

Now hither I have hied 

With the race of Troy to bide ; 

In the firmament I've been 

With Mary Magdalen. 

I work'd as mason-lord 
When Nimrod's pile up-soar'd ; 
I mark'd the dread rebound 
When its ruins struck the ground ; 

55 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

When stroke to victory on 
The men of Macedon, 
The bloody flag before 
The heroic King I bore. 

I saw the end with horror 

Of Sodom and Gomorrah ! 

And with this very eye 

Have seen the . . . (end of Troy ;) 

I till the judgment day 

Upon the earth shall stray : 

None knows for certainty 

Whether fish or flesh I be. 



56 



THE MIST 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 



THE MIST. 

ATRYSTE with Morfydd true I made, 
Twas not the first, in greenwood 
glade, 
In hope to make her flee with me ; 
But useless all, as you will see. 
I went betimes, lest she should grieve, 
Then came a mist at close of eve ; 
Wide o 'er the path by which I passed, 
Its mantle dim and murk it cast. 
That mist ascending met the sky. 
Forcing the daylight from my eye. 
I scarce had strayed a furlong's space 
When of all things I lost the trace. 
Where was the grove and waving grain ? 
Where was the mountain, hill and main ? 

ho ! thou villain mist, O ho ! 
What plea hast thou to plague me so ! 

1 scarcely know a scurril name. 
But dearly thou deserv'st the same ; 
Thou exhalation from the deep 
Unknown, where ugly spirits keep ! 
Thou smoke from hellish stews uphurl'd 
To mock and mortify the world ! 
Thou spider-web of giant race. 

Spun out and spread through airy space I 
Avaunt, thou filthy, clammy thing. 
Of sorry rain the source and spring ! 

59 



BORROW *S WELSH POEMS 

Moist blanket dripping misery down, 
Loathed alike by land and town ! 
Thou watery monster, wan to see. 
Intruding *twixt the sun and me, 
To rob me of my blessed right. 
To turn my day to dismal night. 
Parent of thieves and patron best. 
They brave pursuit within thy breast ! 
Mostly from thee its merciless snow 
Grim January doth glean, I trow. 
Pass off with speed, thou prowler pale. 
Holding along o'er hill and dale. 
Spilling a noxious spittle round. 
Spoiling the fairies' sporting ground ! 
Move off to hell, mysterious haze ; 
Wherein deceitful meteors blaze ; 
Thou wild of vapour, vast, o'ergrown. 
Huge as the ocean of unknown. 
Before me all afright and fear. 
Above me darkness dense and drear. 
My way at weary length I found 
Into a swaggy willow ground. 
Where staring in each nook there stood 
Of wry-mouthed elves a wrathful brood. 
Full oft I sunk in that false soil. 
My legs were lamed with length of toil. 
However hard the case may be. 
No meetings more in mist for me. 



60 



THE CUCKOO'S SONG 
IN MEIRION 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 



THE CUCKOOES SONG IN MERION. 

From the Welsh of Lewis Morris. 

T CHOUGH it has been my fate to see 
^ Of gallant countries many a one; 

Good ale, and those that drank it 
free, 
And wine in streams that seemed to run ; 
The best of beer, the best of cheer, 
Allotted are to Merion. 

The swarthy ox will drag his chain, 
At man's commandment that is done ; 

His furrow break through earth with pain, 
Up hill and hillock toiling on ; 

Yet with more skill draw hearts at will 
The maids of county Merion. 

Merry the life, it must be owned, 

Upon the hills of Merion ; 
Though chill and drear the prospect round. 

Delight and joy are not unknown ; 
O who would e'er expect to hear 

*Mid mountain bogs the cuckoo's tone ? 
63! 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

O who display a mien full fair^ 

A wonder each to look upon ? 
And who in every household care 

Defy compare below the sun ? 
And who make mad each sprightly lad ? 

The maids of county Merlon. 

O fair the salmon in the flood, 
That over golden sands doth run ; 

And fair the thrush in his abode, 

That spreads his wings in gladsome fun ; 

More beauteous look, if truth be spoke, 
The maids of county Merion. 

Dear to the little birdies wild 

Their freedom in the forest lone ; 

Dear to the little sucking child 
The nurse's breast it hangs upon ; 

Though long I wait, I ne'er can state 
How dear to me is Merion. 

Sweet in the house the Telyn's* strings 
In love and joy where kindred wone ; 

While each in turn a stanza sings. 

No sordid themes e'er touched upon ; 

Full sweet in sound the hearth around 
The maidens' song of Merion. 

* The harp. 
64 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

And though my body here it be 
Travelling the countries up and down ; 

Tasting delights of land and sea. 
True pleasure seems my heart to shun ; 

Alas ! there's need home, home to speed- 
My soul it is in Merion. 



65 



THE SNOW 
ON EIRA 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 



THE SNOW ON EIRA. 

COLD is the snow on Snowdon's 
brow, 
It makes the air so chill ; 
For cold, I trow, there is no snow 
Like that of Snowdon*s hill. 

A hill most chill is Snowdon's hill, 

And wintry is his brow ; 
From Snowdon^s hill the breezes chill 

Can freeze the very snow. 



69 



THE INVITATION 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 



THE INVITATION. 
By Goronwy Owen. 

From the Cambrian British, 

[Sent from Northolt, in the year 1745, to William Parry, 
Deputy Comptroller of the Mint.] 

PARRY, of all my friends the best, 
Thou who thy Maker cherishest. 
Thou who regard'st me so sincere. 
And who to me art no less dear ; 
Kind friend, in London since thou art. 
To love thee's not my wisest part ; 
This separation's hard to bear : 
To love thee not far better were. 

But wilt thou not from London town 
Journey some day to Northolt down. 
Song to obtain, O sweet reward. 
And walk the garden of the Bard ? — 
But thy employ, the year throughout. 
Is wandering the White Tower about. 
Moulding and stamping coin with care. 
The farthing small and shilling fair. 
Let for a month thy Mint lie still, 
Covetous be not, little Will ; 

73 F 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

Fly from the birth-place of the smoke, 
Nor in that wicked city choke ; 

come, though money^s charms be strong. 
And if thou come I'll give thee song, 

A draught of water, hap what may. 

Pure air to make thy spirits gay. 

And welcome from an honest heart. 

That's free from every guileful art. 

ril promise — fain thy face I'd see — 

Yet something more, sweet friend, to thee : 

The poet's cwrwf thou shalt prove. 

In talk with him the garden rove. 

Where in each leaf thou shalt behold 

The Almighty's wonders manifold ; 

And every flower, in verity. 

Shall unto thee show visibly. 

In every fibre of its frame. 

His deep design, who made the same. — 

A thousand flowers stand here around, 

With glorious brightness some are crown'd : 

How beauteous art thou, lily fair ! 

With thee no silver can compare : 

I'll not forget thy dr^ss outshone 

The pomp of regal Solomon. 

1 write the friend, I love so well. 
No sounding verse his heart to swell. 
The fragile flowerets of the plain 
Can rival human triumphs vain. 

t Ale. 
74 



BORROW ^S WELSH POEMS 

I liken to a floweret's fate 

The fleeting joys of mortal state ; 

The flower so glorious seen to-day 

To-morrow dying fades away ; 

An end has soon the flowery clan, 

And soon arrives the end of man ; 

The fairest floweret, ever known. 

Would fade when cheerful summer's flown ; 

Then hither haste, ere turns the wheel ! 

Old age doth on these flowers steal ; 

Though passed two-thirds of autumn-time, 

Of summer temperature's the clime ; 

The garden shows no sickliness. 

The weather old age vanquishes. 

The leaves are greenly glorious still — 

But friend ! grow old they must and will. 

The rose, at edge of winter now. 
Doth fade with all its summer glow ; 
Old are become the roses all. 
Decline to age we also shall ; 
And with this prayer Til end my lay. 
Amen, with me, O Parry say ; 
To us be rest from all annoy. 
And a robust old age of joy ; 
May we, ere pangs of death we know, 
Back to our native Mona go ; 
May pleasant days us there await, 
United and inseparate ! 

75 



BORROW »S WELSH POEMS 

And the dread hour, when God shall please 
To bid our mutual journey cease, 
May Christ, who reigns in heaven above, 
Receive us to his breast of love I 



76 



THE PEDIGREE 
OF THE MUSE 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

THE PEDIGREE OF THE MUSE. 

From Goronwy Owen. 

OLD Homer, Grecian bard divine, 
He Muses had, the tuneful Nine, 
Of Goddesses a lovely quire. 
Full like to Jove their heavenly Sire ; 
But their inventing song and strain 
Is but a minstrel vision vain. 
Nor in their birth, so proud and high, 
I ween is more reality. 

One Muse there was and one alone. 
No fabled lustre round her shone, 
With this fair girl the maiden band 
Of Homer unconnected stand. 

A different birth I claim for her, 

Far older she than Jupiter ; 

The youths of heaven felt her power 

In heavenly residence of yore ; 

And from her dwelling blest may she 

To a vile man propitious be. 

Grant to me. Lord, of her a share, 

That I to sing her praise may dare. 

Better thy help it were to gain 

Than thousand, thousand tongues obtain. 

79 



BORROW ^S WELSH POEMS 

ril tell ye where a strain was sung 
Ere in its orb earth's bullet swung, 
Ere ocean had obtain'd its doors 
Which hold confined its watery stores, 
And of the world th* Almighty made 
The firm foundation yet was laid. 

When at the word th' Almighty said 
The heaven above abroad was spread. 
The morning stars in beauty bold. 
Arose a concert high to hold. 
Yes, yes, the beauteous morning train 
Arose to sing a triumph strain. 
When ended was the work sublime 
They rose to sing a second time. 
Thousands of heaven^s brightest powers 
Assembled from their azure bowers. 
The sons of heaven unitedly 
Pour*d out a hymn of harmony. 

Completed is thy work, O God ; 
Wise are the courses by Thee trod. 
Master of all Eternity. 
O who is great and wise like Thee ? 
No organ's voice in sacred fane 
E'er rivaird that celestial strain ; 
A million accents all divine, 
But different all, therein combine. 
80 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

Of angel voices the accord 

Downward pierc'd and upward soared. 

The wandering stars who heard the strain 

Into their orbits leapt again. 

And louder, louder as it peal'd, 

The arch of heaven shook and reeled. 

Down from the heaven*s lofty blue 

To this low world the accents flew, 

In Paradise's blissful bound. 

Our Father Adam heard the sound ; 

Delighted man's fìrst father hears 

The praise and music of the spheres ; 

To imitate the strain he tries, 

And soon succeeds in gallant guise. 

Delighted was his Eva dear 

His good and pleasant song to hear ; 

Eva sang, so fair of feature ; 

Adam sang, tall noble creature. 

Both sang from their green retreat 

To God until the hour of heat. 

From five past noon descanted they 

Till disappeared the orb of day. 

Young Abel's song was clear and mild, 
And free from bursts of passion wild ; 
But fiercely harsh the ditty rang 
Which Cain, red-handed ruffian, sang. 
The gentle Muse you'll never find 
United to a cruel mind ; 

8i 



BORROW *S WELSH POEMS 

The Almighty God this gift bestows 
On breasts alone where virtue glows. 
A thing of ancient date is song, 
A muse to Moses did belong ; 
A muse — a sample of its power 
He gave when quitting Egypt's shore. 
A hundred sang, and with renown, 
Ere we arrive at David down ; 
He sang like heaven's minstrel prime, 
And harmony compos'd sublime. 
*Twas he who framed the blessed psalms, 
To souls distrest those sovereign balms ; 
He also many a deathless air 
Produced from harp and dulcimer ; 
Mov'd with his hand the Muse along. 
That hand so fair and yet so strong. 
Soon as the blush of morn appeared, 
The anointed poet's voice was heard : 
** Awake, my harp," so sang the King, 
* * A sweet and fitting song to sing ; 
Glory I'll give with tongue and chord. 
Glory and praise to heaven's Lord. ' ' 
His like ne'er was, and ne'er will be. 
For music and for minstrelsy. 

A Muse, and wondrous sweet its tone. 
There was again to Solomon. 
He sang in Judah's brightest days 
A wondrous song, the lay of lays. 

82 



BORROW »S WELSH POEMS 

His Rose of Sharon all must love, 
The lily and the hawthorn grove. 
To his effusion sweet belongs 
A station next to David's songs. 
The offspring of a pious Muse 
The Almighty God will not refuse, 
Showing his loving kindness clear 
To us his lowly children here. 

In halls of heaven so bright and sheen 
The power of song is great, I ween ; 
When there above in mighty quire 
With us shall join heaven's host entire. 
The one high God to glorify. 
Commingle then shall earth and sky. 

O what a blest employ to raise 
Our voices in our Maker's praise ! 
Let's learn, my friends, the fitting song. 
To sing it we may hope ere long 
Above in courts where angels be. 
Above where all is harmony. 
And ne'er shall cease our anthem then 
Of Holy, Holy Praise. Amen. 



83 



THE HARP 



BORROW ^S WELSH POEMS 



THE HARP. 

From Goronwy Owen, 

THE harp to every one is dear 
Who hateth vice, and all things 
evil ; 
Hail to its gentle voice so clear, 
Its gentle voice affrights the Devil ! 

The Devil can not the Minstrel quell — 
He by the Minstrel is confounded ; 

From Saul was cast the spirit fell. 

When David's harp melodious sounded. 



87 



EPIGRAM ON 
A MISER 



BORROW ^S WELSH POEMS 



EPIGRAM 

On a Miser who had built a stately Mansion. 

From the Cambrian British. 

OF every pleasure is thy mansion void ; 
To ruin-heaps may soon its walls 
decline. 
heavens, that one poor fire's but employed, 
One poor fire only for thy chimneys nine ! 

Towering white chimneys — kitchen cold and 

drear — 
Chimneys of vanity and empty show — 
Chimneys unwarm'd, unsoil'd throughout 

the year — 
Fain would I heatless chimneys overthrow. 

Plague on huge chimneys, say I, huge and 

neat. 
Which ne'er one spark of genial warmth 

announce ; 
Ignite some straw, thou dealer in deceit — 
Straw of starv'd growth — and make a fire 

for once ! 

91 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

The wretch a palace built, whereon to gaze, 
And sighing, shivering there around to 

stray ; 
To give a penny would the niggard craze, 
And worse than bane he hates the minstrel's 

lay. 



92 



GRIFFITH AP 
NICHOLAS 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 



GRIFFITH AP NICHOLAS. 
By Gwilym ab leuan Hen. 

GRIFFITH AP NICHOLAS, who like 
thee 
For wealth and power and 
majesty ! 
Which most abound, I cannot say. 
On either side of Towy gay. 
From hence to where it meets the brine, 
Trees or stately towers of thine ? 
The chair of judgment thou didst gain, 
But not to deal in judgments vain — 
To thee upon thy judgment chair 
From near and far do crowds repair ; 
But though betwixt the weak and strong 
No questions rose of right and wrong. 
The strong and weak to thee would hie ; 
The strong to do thee injury. 
And to the weak thou wine wouldst deal 
And wouldst trip up the mighty heel. 
A lion unto the lofty thou, 
A lamb unto the weak and low. 
Much thou resemblest Nudd of yore. 
Surpassing all who went before ; 

95 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

Like him thou'rt £am*d for bravery, 

For noble birth and high degree. 

Hail, captain of Kilgarran's hold ! 

Lieutenant of Carmarthen old ! 

Hail chieftain, Cambria's choicest boast ! 

Hail Justice, at the Saxon's cost ! 

Seven castles high confess thy sway, 

Seven palaces thy hands obey. 

Against my chief, with envy fired. 

Three dukes and judges two conspired, 

But thou a dauntless front did'st show. 

And to retreat they were not slow. 

O, with what gratitude is heard 

From mouth of thine the whispered word ; 

The deepest pools in rivers found 

In summer are of softest sound ; 

The sage concealeth what he knows, 

A deal of talk no wisdom shows ; 

The sage is silent as the grave. 

Whilst of his lips the fool is slave ; 

Thy smile doth every joy impart. 

Of faith a fountain is thy heart ; 

Thy hand is strong, thine eye is keen, 

Thy head o'er every head is seen. 



96 



RICHES AND 
POVERTY 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

RICHES AND POVERTY. 

By Twm o'r Nant. 

Enter Captain Poverty. 

O RICHES, thy figure is charming 
and bright, 
And to speak in thy praise all the 
world doth delight. 
But Tm a poor fellow all tattered and torn, 
Whom all the world treateth with insult 
and scorn. 

Riches. 

However mistaken the judgment may be 
Of the world which is never from ignorance 

free. 
The parts we must play, which to us are 

assign 'd. 
According as God has enlightened our mind. 

Of elements four did our Master create. 
The earth and all in it with skill the most 

great ; 
Need I the world's four materials declare — 
Are they not water, fire, earth, and air ? 

Too wise was the mighty Creator to frame 
A world from one element, water or flame ; 

99 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

The one is full moist and the other full hot, 
And a world made of either were useless, I 
wot. 

And if it had all of mere earth been composed, 
And no water nor fire been within it enclosed, 
It could ne'er have produc'd for a huge 

multitude 
Of all kinds of living things suitable food. 

And if God what was wanted had not fully 

known. 
But created the world of these three things 

alone, 
How would any creature the heaven beneath, 
Without the blest air have been able to 

breathe ? 

Thus all things created, the God of all 

grace. 
Of four prime materials, each good in its 

place. 
The work of His hands, when completed, 

He viewed. 
And saw and pronounced that *twas seemly 

and good. 

Poverty. 

In the marvellous things, which to me thou 

hast told 
The wisdom of God I most clearly behold, 

100 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

And did He not also make man of the same 
Materials He us'd when the world He did 
frame ? 

Riches. 

Creation is all, as the sages agree, 
Of the elements four in man 's body that be ; 
Water's the blood, and fire is the nature 
Which prompts generation in every creature. 

The earth is the flesh which with beauty 

is rife. 
The air is the breath, without which is no 

life; 
So man must be always accounted the same 
As the substances four which exist in his 

frame. 

And as in their creation distinction there's 

none 
'Twixt man and the world, so the Infinite 

One 
Unto man a clear wisdom did bounteously 

give 
The nature of everything to perceive. 

Poverty. 

But one thing to me passing strange doth 

appear : 
Since the wisdom of man is so bright and 

so clear, 

lOI 



BORROW *S WELSH POEMS 

How comes there such jarring and warring 

to be 
In the world betwixt Riches and Poverty ? 

Riches. 

That point we*ll discuss without passion or 

fear, 
With the aim of instructing the listeners here; 
And haply some few who instruction require 
May profit derive like the bee from the briar. 

Man as thou knowest, in his generation 

Is a type of the world and of all the creation ; 

Difference there's none in the manner of 

birth 
*Twixt the lowliest hinds and the lords of 

the earth. 

The world which the same thing as man we 

account 
In one place is sea, in another is mount ; 
A part of it rock, and a part of it dale — 
God's wisdom has made every place to avail. 

There exist precious treasures of every kind 
Profoundly in earth's quiet bosom en- 

shrin'd ; 
There 's searching about them, and ever has 

been. 
And by some they are found, and by some 

never seen. 

I02 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

With wonderful wisdom the Lord God on 

high 
Has contrived the two lights which exist 

in the sky ; 
The sun's hot as fire, and its ray bright as 

gold, 
But the moon's ever pale, and by nature is 

cold. 

The sun, which resembles a huge world of 

fire. 
Would burn up full quickly creation entire 
Save the moon with its temp'rament cool 

did assuage 
Of its brighter companion the fury and rage. 

Now I beg you the sun and the moon to 

behold. 
The one that's so bright, and the other so 

cold. 
And say if two things in creation there be 
Better emblems of Riches and Poverty. 

Poverty. 

In manner most brief, yet convincing and 

clear. 
You have told the whole truth to my 

wond'ring ear, 

103 



BORROW ^S WELSH POEMS 



And I see that *twas God, who in all things 

is fair, 
Has assigned us the forms, in this world 

which we bear. 

In the sight of the world doth the wealthy 

man seem 
Like the sun which doth warm everything 

with its beam ; 
Whilst the poor needy wight with his 

pitiable case 
Resembles the moon which doth chill with 

its face. 

Riches. 

You know that full oft, in their course as 

they run. 
An eclipse cometh over the moon or the 

sun; 
Certain hills of the earth with their summits 

of pride 
The face of the one from the other do hide. 

The sun doth uplift his magnificent head, 
And illumines the moon, which were 

otherwise dead. 
Even as Wealth from its station on high, 
Giveth work and provision to Poverty. 

104 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

Poverty. 

I know, and the thought mighty sorrow 

instils ) 
The sins of the world are the terrible hills 
An eclipse which do cause, or a dread 

obscuration, 
To one or another in every vocation. 

Riches. 

It is true that God gives unto each from his 

birth 
Some task to perform whilst he wends upon 

earth, 
But He gives correspondent wisdom and 

force 
To the weight of the task, and the length 

of the course. 

[Exit. 

Poverty. 

I hope there are some, who *twixt me and 

the youth 
Have heard this discourse, whose sole aim 

is the truth. 
Will see and acknowledge, as homeward 

they plod. 
Each thing is arranged by the wisdom of 

God. 

105 H 



THE PERISHING 
WORLD 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 



THE PERISHING WORLD. 
[From '' The Sleeping Bard, ' * by Elis WynnJ 

OMAN, upon this building gaze, 
The mansion of the human race, 
The world terrestrial see ! 
Its Architect *s the King on high, 
Who ne*er was born and ne'er will die — 
The blest Divinity. 
The world, its wall, its starlights all. 
Its stores, where 'er they lie, 
Its wondrous brute variety. 
Its reptiles, fish, and birds that fly, 
And cannot numbered be. 

The God above, to show His love. 
Did give, O man, to thee. 
For man, for man, whom He did plan, 
God caus'd arise 
This edifice. 

Equal to heaven in all but size. 
Beneath the sun so fair ; 
Then it He viewed, and that 'twas good 
For man. He was aware. 

Man only sought to know at first 
Evil, and of the thing accursed 

109 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

Obtain a sample small. 

The sample grew a giantess, 

Tis easy from her size to guess 

The whole her prey will fall. 

Cellar and turret high, 

Through heirs dark treachery, 

Now reeling, rocking, terribly, 

In swooning pangs appear ; 

The orchards round, are only found 

Vile sedge and weeds to bear ; 

The roof gives way, more, more each day, 

The walls too, spite 

Of all their might. 

Have frightful cracks down all their height, 

Which coming ruin show ; 

The dragons tell, that danger fell. 

Now lurks the house below. 

O man ! this building fair and proud. 

From its foundation to the cloud. 

Is all in dangerous plight ; 

Beneath thee quakes and shakes the ground ; 

'Tis all, e'en down to heirs profound, 

A bog that scares the sight. 

The sin man wrought, the deluge brought. 

And without fail 

A fiery gale. 

Before which everything shall quail. 

His deeds shall waken now ; 

Worse evermore, till all is o 'er, 

no 



BORROW *S WELSH POEMS 

Thy case, O world, shall grow. 

There's one place free yet, man for thee, 

Where mercies reign; 

A place to which thou may'st attain. 

Seek there a residence to gain 

Lest thou in caverns howl ; 

For save thou there shalt quick repair, 

Woe to thy wretched soul ! 

Towards yon building turn your face I 
Too strong by far is yonder place 
To lose the victory. 
*Tis better than the reeling world ; 
For all the ills by hell up-hurl 'd 
It has a remedy. 

Sublime it braves the wildest waves ; 
It is a refuge place 
Impregnable to Belial's race. 
With stones, emitting vivid rays. 
Above its stately porch ; 
Itself, and those therein, compose 
The universal Church. 
Though slaves of sin we long have been. 
With faith sincere 
We shall win pardon there ; 
Then in let's press, O brethren dear, 
And claim our dignity ! 
By doing so, we saints below 
And saints on high shall be. 
Ill 



DEATH THE 
GREAT 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 



DEATH THE GREAT. 
[From " The Sleeping Bard, ' * by Elis Wynn.] 

LEAVE land and house we must some 
day, 
^ For human sway not long doth 
bide ; 
Leave pleasures and festivities, 

And pedigrees, our boast and pride. 

Leave strength and loveliness of mien. 
Wit sharp and keen, experience dear ; 

Leave learning deep, and much-lov'd friends, 
And all that tends our life to cheer. 

From Death then is there no relief ? 

That ruthless thief and murderer fell, 
Who to his shambles beareth down 

All, all we own, and us as well. 

Ye monied men, ye who would fain 

Your wealth retain eternally. 
How brave *twould be a sum to raise, 

And the good grace of Death to buy ! 
115 



BORROW ^S WELSH POEMS 

How brave ! ye who with beauty beam, 
On rank supreme who fix your mind, 

Should ye your captivations muster, 
And with their lustre King Death blind. 

O ye who are of foot most light, 

Who are in the height now of your spring, 
Fly, fly, and ye will make us gape. 

If ye can scape Death's cruel fling. 

The song and dance afford, I ween. 
Relief from spleen and sorrow 's grave ; 

How very strange there is no dance, 

Nor tune of France, from Death can save ! 

Ye travellers of sea and land. 

Who know each strand below the sky ; 
Declare if ye have seen a place 

Where Adam's race can Death defy I 

Ye scholars, and ye lawyer crowds. 
Who are as gods reputed wise ; 

Can ye from all the lore ye know, 

'Gainst death bestow some good advice ? 

The world, the flesh, and Devil, compose 
The direst foes of mortals poor ; 

But take good heed of Death the Great, 
From the Lost Gate, Destruction o'er. 

ii6 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

'Tis not worth while of Death to prate, 
Of his Lost Gate and courts so wide ; 

But reflect ! it much imports, 

Of the two courts in which ye^re tried. 

It here can little signify 

If the street high we cross, or low ; 
Each lofty thought doth rise, be sure. 

The soul to lure to deepest woe. 

But by the wall that's ne'er re-pass 'd. 
To gripe thee fast when Death prepares. 

Heed, heed thy steps, for thou may'st 
mourn 
The slightest turn for endless years. 

When opes the door, and swiftly hence 

To its residence eternal flies 
The soul, it matters much, which side 

Of the gulf wide its journey lies. 

Deep penitence, amended life, 

A bosom rife of zeal and faith. 
Can help to man alone impart. 

Against the smart and sting of Death. 

These things to thee seem worthless now. 
But not so low will they appear 

When thou art come, O thoughtless friend I 
Just to the end of thy career. 

117 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

Thou 'It deem, when thou hast done with 
earth, 

These things of worth unspeakable, 
Beside the gulf so black and drear. 

The gulf of Fear, *twixt Heaven and Hell. 



ii8 



THE HEAVY 
HEART 



BORROW *S WELSH POEMS 

THE HEAVY HEART. 
[From '' The Sleeping Bard, ' ' by Elis Wynn.] 

HEAVY*S the heart with wandering 
below, 
And with seeing the things in 
the country of woe ; 
Seeing lost men and the fiendish race. 
In their very horrible prison place ; 
Seeing that the end of the crooked track 
Is a flaming lake 
Where dragon and snake 
With rage are swelling. 
I 'd not, o'er a thousand worlds to reign, 
Behold again, 
Though safe from pain. 
The infernal dwelling. 

Heavy's my heart, whilst so vividly 
The place is yet in my memory ; 
To see so many, to me well known. 
Thither imwittingly sinking down. 
To-day a hell-dog is yesterday's man, 

And he has no plan. 

But others to trepan 

121 I 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

To Heirs dismal revels. 
When he reached the pit he a fiend became, 
In face and in frame, 
And in mind the same 
As the very devils. 

Heavy's the heart with viewing the bed, 
Where sin has the meed it has merited ; 
What frightful taunts from forked tongue, 
On gentle and simple there are flung ! 
The ghastliness of the damned things to 
state, 

Or the pains to relate 

Which will ne'er abate 

But increase for ever, 
No power have I, nor others I wot : 

Words cannot be got ; 

The shapes and the spot 

Can be pictured never. 

Heavy's the heart, as none will deny. 

At losing one 's friend, or the maid of one 's 

eye; 
At losing one's freedom, one's land or 

wealth ; 
At losing one's fame, or alas ! one's health ; 
At losing leisure ; at losing ease ; 

At losing peace 

And all things that please 

The heaven under. 

122 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

At losing memory, beauty and grace, 
Heart-heaviness, 
For a little space 
Can cause no wonder. 

Heavy 's the heart of man when first 
He awakes from his worldly dream accursed ; 
Fain would he be freed from his awful load 
Of sin, and be reconciled with his God ; 
When he feels for pleasures and luxuries 

Disgust arise. 

From the agonies 

Of the ferment unruly. 
Through which he becomes regenerate. 

Of Christ the mate, 

From his sinful state 

Springing blithe and holy. 

Heavy's the heart of the best of mankind. 

Upon the bed of death reclined ; 

In mind and body ill at ease, 

Betwixt remorse and the disease, 

Vext by sharp pangs and dreading more. 

O mortal poor ! 

O dreadful hour ! 

Horrors surround him ! 
To the end of the vain world he has won • 

And dark and dun 

The Eternal One 

Beholds beyond him. 
123 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

Heavy's the heart, the pressure below, 
Of all the griefs I have mentioned now ; 
But were they together all met in a mass, 
There's one grief still would all surpass ; 
Hope frees from each woe, while we this 
side 

Of the wall abide — 

At every tide 

'Tis an outlet cranny. 
But there's a grief beyond the bier ; 

Hope will ne'er 

Its victims cheer, 

That cheers so many. 



Heavy's the heart therewith that's fraught ; 
How heavy is mine at merely the thought I 
Our worldly woes, however hard, 
Are trifles when with that compared : 
That woe — which is not known here — ^that 
woe 

The lost ones know. 

And undergo 

In the nether regions ; 
How wretched the man who, exil 'd to Hell, 

In Hell must dwell. 

And curse and yell 

With the Hellish legions ! 
124 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

At nought, that may ever betide thee, fret 
If at Hell thou art not arrived yet ; 
But thither, I rede thee, in mind repair 
Full oft, and observantly wander there ; 
Musing intense, after reading me. 

Of the flaming sea. 

Will speedily thee 

Convert by appalling. 
Frequent remembrance of the black deep 

Thy soul will keep. 

Thou erring sheep. 

From thither falling. 



i«S 



RYCE OF TWYN 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 



RYCE OF TWYN. 

["I'll bet a guinea that however clever a fellow you may- 
be, you never sang anything in praise of your landlord's 
housekeeping equal to what Dafydd Nanmor sang in praise 
of that of Ryce of Twyn four hundred years ago."] 

FOR Ryce if hundred thousands 
plough *d, 
The lands around his fair abode ; 
Did vines of thousand vineyards bleed, 
Still corn and wine great Ryce would need ; 
If all the earth had bread's sweet savour, 
And water all had cyder's flavour, 
Three roaring feasts in Ryce*s hall 
Would swallow earth and ocean all. 



129 



LLYWELYN 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 



LLYWELYN. 
By Dafydd Benfras. 

LLYWELYN of the potent hand oft 
wrought 
é Trouble upon the kings and con- 
sternation ; 
When he with the Lloegrian monarch 

fought, 
Whose cry was * * Devastation ! * ' 
Forward impetuously his squadrons ran ; 
Great was the tumult ere the shout began ; 
Proud was the hero of his reeking glaive, 
Proud of their numbers were his followers 

brave. 
then were heard resounding o'er the 

fields 
The clash of faulchions and the crash of 

shields ! 
Many the wounds in yonder fight received ! 
Many the warriors of their lives bereaved ! 
The battle rages till our foes recoil 
Behind the Dike which Off a built with toil, 
Bloody their foreheads, gash'd with many 

a blow. 
Blood streaming down their quaking knees 

below. 

133 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

Llywelyn, we as our high chief obey, 
To fair Forth Ysgewin extends his sway ; 
For regal virtues and for princely line 
He towers above imperial Constantine. 



134 



PLYNLIMMON 



BORROW ^S WELSH POEMS 



PLYNLIMMON. 
By Lewis Glyn Cothi. 

FROM high Plynlimmon*s shaggy 
side 
Three streams in three directions 
glide, 
To thousands at their mouth who tarry 
Honey, gold and mead they carry. 

Flow also from Plynlimmon high 
Three streams of generosity ; * 
The first, a noble stream indeed, 
Like rills of Mona runs with mead ; 

The second bears from vineyards thick 
Wine to the feeble and the sick ; 
The third, till time shall be no more. 
Mingled with gold shall silver pour. 



* The " streams of generosity " were those of Dafydd ab 
Thomas Vychan. (See "Wild Wales," chap. Ixxxviii.) — Ed. 



137 



QUATRAINS AND STRAY 
STANZAS FROM 
"WILD WALES" 



BORROW ^S WELSH POEMS 



QUATRAINS AND STRAY STANZAS 
FROM '<WILD WALES/ ^ 



L 



CHESTER ale, Chester ale ! I 
could ne'er get it down, 
'Tis made of ground-ivy, of 
dirt, and of bran, 
'Tis as thick as a river below a huge 
town ! 
'Tis not lap for a dog, far less drink 
for a man. 



H. 



Gone, gone are thy gates, Dinas Bran 
on the height ! 
Thy warders are blood-crows and 
ravens, I trow ; 
Now no one will wend from the field 
of the fight 
To the fortress on high, save the raven 
and crow. 

141 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 



III. 



Here, after sailing far, I, Madoc, lie. 
Of Owain Gwynedd lawful progeny : 
The verdant land had little charms for 

me ; 
From earliest youth I loved the dark- 
blue sea. 
God in his head the Muse instill'd. 
And from his head the world he fiird. 



IV. EPITAPH ON ELIZABETH 
WILLIAMS. 

Though thou art gone to dwelling cold, 
To lie in mould for many a year. 

Thou shalt, at length, from earthy bed, 
Uplift thy head to blissful sphere. 

THE LAST JOURNEY. From Huw 
Morus. 

Now to my rest I hurry away. 

To the world which lasts for ever and 

aye. 
To Paradise, the beautiful place. 
Trusting alone in the Lord of Grace. 
142 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

VI. THE FOUR AND TWENTY 
MEASURES. From Edward Price. 

I *ve read the master-pieces great 
Of languages no less than eight, 
But ne'er have found a woof of song 
So strict as that of Cambria's tongue. 

Vn. MONA. By Robert Lleiaf. 

Av i dir Mon, er dwr Menai, 
Tros y traeth, ond aros trai. 

I will go to the land of Mona, not- 
withstanding the water of the Menai, across 
the sand, without waiting for the ebb. 

Vni. MONA. From *^ Y Greal." 

I got up in Mona as soon as 'twas light, 
At nine in old Chester my breakfast I 
took ; 
In Ireland I dined, and in Mona, ere night, 
By the turf fire sat, in my own ingle 
nook. 

IX. ERYRI. 

Easy to say, * * Behold Eryri ! ' ' 
But difficult to reach its head ; 

Easy for him whose hopes are cheery 
To bid the wretch be comforted. 

1+3 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

X. ERYRL From Goronwy Owen. 

Ail i'r ar ael Eryri, 
Cyfartal hoewal a hi. 

The brow of Snowdon shall be levelled 
with the ground, and the eddying waters 
shall murmur round it. 

XL ELLEN. From Goronwy Owen. 

Ellen, my darling. 

Who liest in the churchyard of Walton. 

XIL MON. From the Ode by Robin Ddu. 

Bread of the wholesomest is found 
In my mother-land of Anglesey ; 

Friendly bounteous men abound 
In Penmynnydd of Anglesey. . . . 

Twelve sober men the muses woo, 
Twelve sober men in Anglesey, 

Dwelling at home, like patriots true, 
In reverence for Anglesey. . . . 

Though Arvon graduate bards can boast, 
Yet more canst thou, O Anglesey. 

XIII. MON. From Huw Goch. 

Brodir, gnawd ynddi prydydd ; 
Heb ganu ni bu ni bydd. 

144 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

A hospitable country, in which a poet is 
a thing of course. It has never been and 
will never be without song. 

XIV. LEWIS MORRIS OF MON. From 
Goronwy Owen. 

** As long as Bardic lore shall last, science 
and learning be cherished, the language 
and blood of the Britons undefiled, song 
be heard on Parnassus, heaven and earth 
be in existence, foam be on the surge, and 
water in the river, the name of Lewis of 
Mon shall be held in grateful remembrance. ' ^ 

XV. THE GRAVE OF BELL 

Who lies 'neath the cairn on the headland 

hoar, 
His hand yet holding his broad claymore. 
Is it Beli, the son of Benlli Gawr ? 

XVI. THE GARDEN. From Gwilym Du 
o Eifion. 

In a garden the first of our race was 

deceived ; 
In a garden the promise of grace he 

received ; 

145 



BORROW *S WELSH POEMS 

In a garden was Jesus betray 'd to His 

doom ; 
In a garden His body was laid in the 

tomb. 

XVII. THE SATIRIST. From Gruffydd 

Hiraethog. 

He who satire loves to sing, 
On himself will satire bring. 

XVIII. ON GRUFFYDD HIRAETHOG. 

From William Lleyn. 

In Eden's grove from Adam's mouth 
Upsprang a muse of noble growth ; 
So from thy grave, O poet wise, 
Cross Consonancy's boughs shall rise. 

XIX. LLANGOLLEN ALE. (George 
Borrow). 

Llangollen's brown ale is with malt 
and hop rife ; 
'Tis good; but don't quaff it from 
evening till dawn ; 
For too much of that ale will incline you 
to strife ; 
Too much of that ale has caused 
knives to be drawn. 
146 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

XX. TOM EVANS alias Twm o'r Nant. 
By Twm Tai. 

Tom Evan's the lad for hunting up 

songs, 
Tom Evan to whom the best learning 

belongs ; 
Betwixt his two pasteboards he verses 

has got, 
Sufficient to fill the whole country, I 

wot. 

XXI. ENGLYN ON A WATERFALL. 

Foaming and frothing from mountainous 
height. 
Roaring like thunder the Rhyadr falls ; 
Though its silvery splendour the eye may 
delight. 
Its fury the heart of the bravest appals. 

XXII. DAVID GAM. Attributed to 
Owain Glyndower. 

Shouldst thou a little red man descry 

Asking about his dwelling fair. 
Tell him it under the bank doth lie, 

And its brow the mark of the coal doth 
bear. 

147 



BORROW ^S WELSH POEMS 



XXIII. LLAWDDEN. From Lewis 
Meredith. 

Whilst fair Machynlleth decks thy quiet 

plain^ 
Conjoined with it shall Lawdden's name 

remain. 

XXIV. TWM O'R NANT. 

Tom O Nant is a nickname I Ve got, 
My name's Thomas Edwards, I wot. 

XXV. SEVERN AND WYE. 

O pleasantly do glide along the Severn 

and the Wye ; 
But Rheidors rough, and yet he's held 

by all in honour high. 

XXVI. GLAMORGAN. From Dafydd ab 
Gwilym. 

If every strand oppression strong 
Should arm against the son of song. 
The weary wight would find, I ween, 
A welcome in Glamorgan green. 

148 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

XXVII. DAFYDD AB GWILYM. From 
lolo Goch (?). 

To Heaven's high peace let him depart, 
And with him go the minstrel art. 

XXVni. TO THE YEW TREE on the 
Grave of Dafydd ab Gwilym at Ystrad 
Flur. After Gruffydd Grug. 

Thou noble tree ; who shelt'rest kind 

The dead man's house from winter's wind : 

May lightnings never lay thee low, 

Nor archer cut from thee his bow ; 

Nor Crispin peel thee pegs to frame. 

But may thou ever bloom the same, 

A noble tree the grave to guard 

Of Cambria's most illustrious bard ! 

O tree of yew, which here I spy. 

By Ystrad Flur's blest monast'ry. 

Beneath thee lies, by cold Death bound. 

The tongue for sweetness once renown 'd. 



Better for thee thy boughs to wave. 

Though scath'd, above Ab Gwilym 's 

grave, 
Than stand in pristine glory drest 
Where some ignobler bard doth rest ; 
149 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

Vd rather hear a taunting rhyme 

From one who^ll live through endless 

time, 
Than hear my praises chanted loud 
By poets of the vulgar crowd. 

XXIX. HU GADARN. From lolo Goch. 

The Mighty Hu who lives for ever, 
Of mead and wine to men the giver, 
The emperor of land and sea, 
And of all things that living be. 
Did hold a plough with his good hand, 
Soon as the Deluge left the land. 
To show to men both strong and weak. 
The haughty-hearted and the meek, 
Of all the arts the heaven below 
The noblest is to guide the plough. 

XXX. EPITAPH. 

Thou earth from earth reflect with anxious 

mind 
That earth to earth must quickly be 

consigned. 
And earth in earth must lie entranced, 

enthralled, 
Till earth from earth to judgment shall be 

called. 



150 



BORROW *S WELSH POEMS 



XXXI. GOD'S BETTER THAN ALL. 
By Vicar Pritchard of Llandovery. 

GOD'S better than heaven or aught 
therein, 
Than the earth or aught we there 
can win, 
Better than the world or its wealth to me — 
God's better than all that is or can be. 

Better than father, than mother, than 

nurse. 
Better than riches, oft proving a curse, 
Better than Martha or Mary even — 
Better by far is the God of heaven. 

If God for thy portion thou hast ta'en 
There's Christ to support thee in every pain, 
The world to respect thee thou wilt gain. 
To fear the fiend and all his train. 

Of the best of portions thou choice didst 

make 
When thou the high God to thyself didst 

take, 
A portion which none from thy grasp can 

rend 
Whilst the sun and the moon on their course 

shall wend. 

151 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 

When the sun grows dark and the moon 

turns red, 
When the stars shall drop and millions dread, 
When the earth shall vanish with its pomps 

in fire. 
Thy portion still shall remain entire. 

Then let not thy heart though distressed, 

complain ! 
A hold on thy portion firm maintain. 
Thou didst choose the best portion, again 

I say — 
Resign it not till thy dying day. 



152 



BORROW ^S WELSH POEMS 

XXXII. THE SUN IN GLAMORGAN. 
From Dafydd ab Gwilym. 

EACH morn, benign of countenance, 
Upon Glamorgan's pennon glance I 
Each afternoon in beauty clear 
Above my own dear bounds appear ! 
Bright outline of a blessed clime, 
Again, though sunk, arise sublime — 
Upon my errand, swift repair. 
And unto green Glamorgan bear 
Good days and terms of courtesy 
From my dear country and from me ! 
Move round — but need I thee com- 
mand .'* — 
Its chalk-white halls, which cheerful 

stand — 
Pleasant thy own pavilions too — 
Its fields and orchards fair to view. 

O, pleasant is thy task and high 

In radiant warmth to roam the sky, 

To keep from ill that kindly ground. 

Its meads and farms, where mead is 

found, 
A land whose commons live content. 
Where each man's lot is excellent. 

153 L 



BORROW »S WELSH POEMS 

Where hosts to hail thee shall upstand, 
Where lads are bold and lasses bland ; 
A land I oft from hill that's high 
Have gazed upon with raptured eye ; 

Where maids are trained in virtue's 

school, 
Where duteous wives spin dainty wool ; 
A country with each gift supplied, 
Confronting Cornwairs cliffs of pride. 



154 



ADDITIONAL POEMS 
FROM THE 
"QUARTERLY REVIEW" 



BORROW^S WELSH POEMS 



I. THE AGE OF OWEN GLENDOWER, 

ONE thousand four hundred, no less 
and no more, 
Was the date of the rising of 
Owen Glendower ; 
Till fifteen were added with courage ne'er 

cold 
Liv'd Owen, though latterly Owen was 
old. 



157 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 



IL THE SPIDER. 

FROM out its womb it weaves 
with care 
Its web beneath the roof ; 
Its wintry web it spreadeth there — 
Wires of ice its woof. 

And doth it weave against the wall 
Thin ropes of ice on high ? 

And must its little liver all 
The wondrous stuff supply ? 



158 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 



III. THE SEVEN DRUNKARDS. 

WHERE are there seven beneath 
the sky 
Who with these seven for thirst 
can vie ? 
But the best for good ale these seven 

among 
Are the jolly divine and the son of song. 



59 



SIR RHYS 
AP THOMAS 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 



Y 



SIR RHYS AP THOMAS. 

** Great Rice of Wales/' 

BRENIN biau'r ynys, 
Ond sy o ran i Syr Rys. 



The King owns all the island 
wide 
Except the part where Rice doth bide. 



Y Brenin biau'r ynys; 

A chyriau Frank, a chorf Rys. 

The King owns all the island wide, 
A part of France, and Rice beside. 

Rhys Nanmor a'i Kant. 



163 



HIRAETH : 
A Short Elegy 



BORROW^ S WELSH POEMS 



HIRAETH.* 

** . . . An old bard, who wrote a short 

elegy on the death of the governor of 

and his dame, and who says that he himself 
was fading with longing on their account. ^ * 

— Borrow MS. 

CGING for them doth fade my 
cheek ; 
He was a man, and she was meek; 
A lion was he, she full of glee ; 
He handsome was, she fair to see. 
A wondrous concord here was view'd ; 
He was wise, and she was good ; 
He liberal was, she kind of mood ; 
To heaven he went, she him pursued. 

* "What is hivaeth? Hiraeth is longing, the mourning, 
consuming feeling which one experiences for the loss of a 
beloved object." — G. B. 



167 



PWLL CHERES: THE 
VORTEX OF MENAI 



BORROWS WELSH POEMS 



PWLL CHERES: THE VORTEX OF 
MENAL 

PWLL CHERES, the dread whirlpool of 
Menai, 
Twisteth the waves, as if a knot 
should tie : 
A hideous howling hollow, an abyss 
Enough to scare the heart is Pwll Cheres. 



171 



THE MOUNTAIN 
SNOW 



BORROW *S WELSH POEMS 



THE MOUNTAIN SNOW. 

THE mountain snow : the stag doth 
fly, 
The wind about the roofs doth sigh. 
Love cannot in concealment lie. 

The mountain snow : the grove is dark, 
The raven black ; the hound doth bark. 
God keep you from all evil work. 

The mountain snow : the crust is sound ; 
The wind doth twist the reeds around. 
Where ignorance is, no grace is found. 



175 



CAROLAN'S 
LAMENT 



BORROWS CELTIC POEMS 



CAROLAN^S LAMENT. 

From the Irish, 

THE arts of Greece, Rome, and of 
Eirin*s fair earth, 
If at my sole command they this 
moment were all, 
rd give, though Tm fully aware of their 

worth. 
Could they back from the dead my lost 
Mary recall. 

Tm distrest every noon, now I sit down 

alone. 
And at morn, now with me she arises no 

more : 
With no woman alive after thee would I 

wive. 
Could I flocks and herds gain, and of gold 

a bright store. 

Awhile in green Eirin so pleasant I dwelt, 
With her nobles I drank to whom music 

was dear ; 
Then left to myself, how mournful I felt 
At the close of my life, with no partner to 

cheer. 

179 



BORROW^S CELTIC POEMS 

My sole joy and my comfort wast thou 

*neath the sun, 
Dark gloom, now Tm reft of thee, filleth 

my mind ; 
I shall know no more happiness now thou 

art gone, 
O my Mary, of wit and of manners refined. 



i8o 



EPIGRAMS BY 
CAROLAN 



BORROW »S CELTIC POEMS 



EPIGRAMS BY CAROLAN. 

On Friars. 

WOULD 'ST thou on good terms with 
friars live, 
Ever be humble and admiring ; 
All they ask of thee freely give, 
And in return be nought requiring. 

On a Surly Butler^ 
who had refused him admission to the cellar. 

Dermod Flynn, it grieveth me 

Thou keepest not Heirs portal ; 
As long as thou should 'st porter be. 
Thou would 'st admit no mortal. 



183 



THE DELIGHTS OF 
FINN MAC COUL 



BORROWS CELTIC POEMS 



THE DELIGHTS OF FINN MAC 
COUL. t 

From the Ancient Irish, 

FINN MAC COUL 'mongst his joys 
did number 
To hark to the boom of the dusky 
hills ; 
By the wild cascade to be lull *d to slumber, 
Which Cuan Na Seilg with its roaring fills. 
He lov*d the noise when storms were 

blowing, 
And billows with billows fought furiously ; 
Of Magh Maom's kine the ceaseless lowing. 
And deep from the glen the calves* feeble 

cry; 
The noise of the chase from Slieve Crott 

pealing. 
The hum from the bushes Slieve Cua below, 
The voice of the gull o'er the breakers 

wheeling. 
The vulture's scream, over the sea flying 
slow ; 

t The personage who figures in the splendid forgeries of 
MacPherson under the name of Fingal. 

187 



BORROW »S CELTIC POEMS 

The mariners' song from the distant haven, 
The strain from the hill of the pack so free. 
From Cnuic Nan Gall the croak of the raven, 
The voice from Slieve Mis of the streamlets 

three ; 
Young Oscar's voice, to the chase proceeding. 
The howl of the dogs, of the deer in quest. 
But to recline where the cattle were feeding 
That was the delight which pleas 'd him best. 



i88 



TO ICOLMCILL 



BORROWS CELTIC POEMS 

TO ICOLMCILL. 

From the Gaelic of Maclntyre, 

ON Icolmcill may blessings pour ! 
It is the island blest of yore ; 
Mull *s sister-twin in the wild main, 
Owning the sway of high Mac- Lean ; 
The sacred spot, whose fair renown 
To many a distant land has flown, 
And which receives in courteous way 
All, all who thither chance to stray. 

There in the grave are many a King 
And duine-wasself slumbering ; 
And bodies, once of giant strength. 
Beneath the earth are stretch 'd at length ; 
It is the fate of mortals all 
To ashes fine and dust to fall ; 
I We hope in Christ, for sins who died. 
He has their souls beatified. 

Now full twelve hundred years, and more, 
On dusky wing have flitted o*er. 
Since that high morn when Columb grey 
Its wall 's foundation-stone did lay ; 

t The Gaelic word for nobleman. 
191 



BORROWS CELTIC POEMS 

Images still therein remain 
And death-memorials carv'd with pain ; 
Of good hewn stone from top to base, 
It shows to Time a dauntless face. 

A man this day the pulpit fiird, 
Whose sermon brain and bosom thriird, 
And all the listening crowd I heard 
Praising the mouth which it proffer 'd. 
Since death has seiz 'd on Columb Cill, 
And Mull may not possess him still, 
There *s joy throughout its heathery lands, 
In Columb 's place that Dougal stands. 



192 



THE DYING 
BARD 



BORROWS CELTIC POEMS 



THE DYING BARD. 

From the Gaelic. 

OFOR to hear the hunter 's tread 
With his spear and his dogs the 
hills among ; 
In my aged cheek youth flushes red 
When the noise of the chase arises strong. 

Awakes in my bones the marrow whene'er 
I hark to the distant shout and bay ; 
When peals in my ear, ** WeVe kill'd the 

deer ' '— 
To the hill-tops boundeth my soul away ; 

I see the slug-hound tall and gaunt, 
Which followed me, early and late, so true ; 
The hills, which it was my delight to haunt, 
And the rocks, which rang to my loud 
halloo. 

I see Scoir Eild by the side of the glen, 
Where the cuckoo calleth so blithe in May, 
And Gorval of pines, renowned 'mongst 

men 
For the elk and the roe which bound and 

play. 

195 



BORROW^S CELTIC POEMS 

I see the cave, which received our feet 
So kindly oft from the gloom of night, 
Where the blazing tree with its genial heat 
Within our bosoms awak'd delight. 

On the flesh of the deer we fed our fill — 
Our drink was the Treigh, our music its 

wave ; 
Though the ghost shriek 'd shrill, and 

bellowM the hill, 
*Twas pleasant, I trow, in that lonely cave. 

I see Benn Ard of form so fair, 
Of a thousand hills the Monarch proud ; 
On his side the wild deer make their lair. 
His head's the eternal couch of the cloud. 

But vision of joy, and art thou flown ? 
Return for a moment 's space, I pray, — 
Thou dost not hear — ohone, ohone, — 
Hills of my love, farewell for aye. 

Farewell, ye youths, so bold and free. 
And fare ye well, ye maids divine I 
No more I can see ye — yours is the glee 
Of the summer, the gloom of the winter 
mine. 

ig6 



BORROWS CELTIC POEMS 

At noon-tide carry me into the sun, 

To the bank by the side of the wandering 

stream, 
To rest the shamrock and daisy upon, 
And then will return of my youth the dream. 

Place ye by my side my harp and shell, 
And the shield my fathers in battle bore ; 
Ye halls, where Oisin and Daoulf dwell. 
Unclose — for at eve I shall be no more. 

t Ancient bards, to whose mansion, in the clouds, the 
speaker hopes that his spirit will be received. 



197 



THE SONG OF 
DEIRDRA 



BORROWS CELTIC POEMS 



THE SONG OF DEIRDRA. 

FAREWELL, grey Albyn, much loved 
land, 
I ne'er shall see thy hills again ; 
Upon those hills I oft would stand 

And view the chase sweep o 'er the plain. 

*Twas pleasant from their tops, I ween. 
To see the stag that bounding ran ; 

And all the rout of hunters keen. 
The sons of Usna in the van. 

The chiefs of Albyn feasted high. 

Amidst them Usna 's children shone ; 

And Nasa kissed in secrecy 

The daughter fair of high Dundron. 

To her a milk-white doe he sent, 

With little fawn that frisked and played, 

And once to visit her he went, 

As home from Inverness he strayed. 

The news was scarcely brought to me 
When jealous rage inflamed my mind ; 

I took my boat and rushed to sea. 
For death, for speedy death, inclined. 

201 o 



BORROWS CELTIC POEMS 

But swiftly swimming at my stern 
Came Ainlie bold and Ardan tall ; 

Those faithful striplings made me turn 
And brought me back to Nasals hall. 

Then thrice he swore upon his arms, 

His burnished arms, the foeman's bane, 

That he would never wake alarms 
In this fond breast of mine again. 

Dundron's fair daughter also swore, 
And called to witness earth and sky, 

That since his love for her was o 'er 
A maiden she would live and die. 

Ah» did she know that slain in fight, 
He wets with gore the Irish hill. 

How great would be her moan this night, 
But greater far would mine be still. 



202 



THE WILD WINE 



BORROWS CELTIC POEMS 



THE WILD WINE. 

From the Gaelic of Maclntyre. 

THE wild wine of nature, 
Honey-like in its taste, 
The genial, fair, thin element 
Filtering through the sands. 
Which is sweeter than cinnamon, 
And is well-known to us hunters. 
O, that eternal, healing draught. 
Which comes from under the earth, 
Which contains abundance of good 
And costs no money I 



205 



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